English Comp 2
Saturday, August 2,2003
The Events That Make "Oedipus the King" A Tragedy
A tragedy is a drama that presents a hero with a powerful force that he must overcome. The tragic hero must be someone of importance, who in the beginning is happy and utterly miserable by the end. The powerful force, that effects the hero, is often linked to the community he lives in, causing great turmoil for everyone. Often times the hero will suffer from hamartia, which is an internal weakness of the character that eventually leads to their down fall. It is not uncommon for a hero to have more than one flaw. Usually an ironic change of events will occur causing a reversal in circumstances and recognition of fact, by the hero. "Oedipus the King " by Sophocles is an excellent example of a tragedy. The story of Oedipus posses a hero, powerful forces, irony, hamartia, reversal and recognition, all the criteria for a tragic drama
The story, of Oedipus, begins outside the royal house of Thebes.
The city is being plagued with death and sickness. Oedipus, the king of Thebes, tries to calm his people as he awaits the return of Creon, who has been sent to consult with the oracle at Delphi. Creon returns. He exclaims Apollo's commands "Draw the corruption from the land...root it out" and "Pay back the killer-whoever is responsible" (1292-3). Creon explains to Oedipus the story that was brought back to Thebes, by a shepherd whom witnessed the brutal murder of Laius. Upon hearing this Oedipus swears to hunt down the murderer and avenge the prior kings death so that Thebes may be saved.
In order to gain insight into this murder, an old soothsayer is called upon. Tiresias, a blind man cursed by...